Stabbed to death, rapper known as Splash Addict*
* That’s slang for liking bloody knife attacks
‘A summer of gang reprisals’
THE latest teenage victim of London’s Wild West crimewave was a ‘drill’ rapper who boasted of his love of knives. Latwaan Griffiths, 18, died from stab wounds having fallen off the back of a moped as a friend tried to rush him to hospital.
Detectives suspect he may have been targeted by members of a rival gang after footage of him goading them was posted online. He was known as SA Latz, or Splash Addict, and was a member of the Harlem Spartans music collective. His nickname and the group’s provocative lyrics refer to ‘splashing’ or ‘getting splashed up’, urban slang for stabbing someone and being spattered with their blood.
Police are concerned that drill music – a brand of rap which often features masked young men brandishing guns and knives – is fuelling soaring violence. Footage emerged yesterday of more than a dozen men being lined up against a park fence by armed officers after being caught recording a video.
Latwaan was known to police as a gang member in Kennington, South-East London, and had been arrested for offences including possessing a machete and a knife, and robbing a rival.
Most took place in and around the Kennington Park Estate which the Harlem Spartans used as a backdrop for their videos.
Online comments asked if Latwaan had been targeted by members of rival gangs such as 410, based in Brixton, or Zone 2, based in Peckham.
Several pointed out that a video of the victim recording a rap mocking 410 has been viewed more than 20,000 times.
They warned that London faces a ‘bloody summer’ of violent gang reprisals, with one saying: ‘Someone is getting deaded.’
One teenage associate said Latwaan was ‘100 per cent’ immersed in South London gang culture, but his fame as an online rapper meant he ‘could have gone mainstream’.
According to the Harlem Spartans’ own lyrics, more than ten of its members have been jailed in recent months. Their best-known track, Call Me A Spartan, has registered more than six million views. Another, Kennington Bop, opens with the line: ‘Come round Kennington, come around ready for war.’
Last night Latwaan’s mother Marsha McNamee, 39, said she was too upset to speak. Police are still hunting the rider of the moped which dumped Latwaan near King’s College Hospital, Camberwell, on Thursday. The rider shouted ‘Help him, he’s been stabbed’ before speeding off. Latwaan was helped by bystanders before being taken into hospital where he died. It is not known where the attack took place.
Latwaan was the 52nd person fatally stabbed in London this year as police try to get to grips with a knife crime epidemic. A 17-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Provocative lyrics: London rapper Latwaan Griffiths
Performing: Latwaan in a video for a Harlem Spartans song